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10/18/2001 Archived Entry: "Vegetables"

It's strange, but I'm fairly sure I eat more vegetables at university than I do anywhere else.

You'd expect that for such a person as me, who isn't overly health or diet conscious - hey, I row and play badminton, it's just that I don't make a point of knowing the nutritional content, of, say, chicken and its constituent parts - that I would take the opportunity of being at university to eat junk food.

Well, it's not really possible. Since the cheapest (and thus most preferable) food available is served at my college, and it isn't too objectionable, that's where I have most of my meals. Unlike schools, where they have to deal with the unformed palates of teenagers who, let's be fair, cannot realistically be expected to like vegetables, the college can get away with not serving chips every day or so on.

So most of the main courses are relatively healthy. At least, most of what is offered is healthy - it's perfectly possible for someone to pick all the unhealthy stuff and suffer no untoward consequences. Unless, that is, you are me. One fateful day last academic year, I was happily walking down the serving area with my tray and plate, bereft of anything green on it, when a voice said to me,


I was shocked out of my reverie and saw one of the serving ladies aggressively gesture a ladle full of green things towards me. I involuntarily recoiled away.

"Er, no thanks," I said, with a nervous smile.

"They're good for you, you know," she replied in an accusatory tone.

I looked down the line of people behind and after me in the queue, absolutely convinced that they were all:

a) Watching closely and
b) Immediately downgrading their opinion of me with every second that passed

So I faked a hearty laugh, as if I'd been having her along all the time and of course intended to take vegetables from the very start, and said, "Well, why not, eh?"

The thing is, though, I don't even like vegetables! Carrots are fine, broccoli and other related stuff is tolerable, but I just don't see the point. Yet now that I've been psychologically scarred for the rest of my life from the above traumatic incident, I have to take vegetables with every meal that I eat at college, in case the nightmare returns. And of course I eat most of them as well, since you have to walk past the serving area when you walk out with your tray and it's possible (if not likely) that one of them could intercept me and make some snide comments about children in Africa and so on.

Together with the rowing, of which I do quite a lot now, and the cycling, it seems that I'm actually improving my fitness a lot.

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